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There were two versions of this song. The first had Stagger Lee and Billy gambling (Stagger Lee shot Billy at the end), the second, rushed out by ABC-Paramount after hearing complaints from radio listeners, had Stagger Lee and Billy arguing over a girlfriend, who goes back to Stagger at the end.
This was based on the traditional blues/folk song, "Ballad of Stack-o-Lee." There have been over 170 recorded versions, including 4 by Taj Mahal and 8 by Mississippi John Hurt, released over the past century.
Price recorded his version at the request of Dick Clark.
This was the first Rock 'n' Roll record to hit #1 despite being censored.
Other versions that charted in the US: Wilson Pickett, 1967 (#22, as "Stag-O-Lee"), Tommy Roe, 1969 (#25). (thanks, Brad Wind - Miami, FL, for all above)
In 2004 The Black Keys recorded this for their album Rubber Factory as "Stack Shot Billy." (thanks, C.J. - Farmington, MI)
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